Friday, November 7, 2008

Thank God for the Bishops


Tremendous news from the USCCB: given the 'confusion' about the issue of abortion and Holy Communion - thank goodness our Bishops have come out with the kind of strong, firm and clear leadership we have come to love and respect from the USCCB - they have decided to cut the discussion about the issue from the agenda. It is, apparently, now no longer an 'issue' - so refreshing!

12 comments:

Fr Jay Scott Newman said...

By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Twelve as a College, and we all know about the first collegial act of the Apostles:

"And they all left him and fled." (Mark 14:50)

This act of cowardice followed Peter, James and John sleeping through the agony in the garden, was coterminous with the betrayal of Judas, and preceded by a few hours the craven lies of Peter designed to save his skin.

In other words, sloth, infidelity, cowardice and mendacity were part of the apostolic office from the beginning, so we should never be surprised to find it among us now.

the owl of the remove said...

Gem - I enjoy your visits and comments - but I don't put swear words on the blog, even blanked out ones.

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, geez, which one did I blank out?

Never mind.

Anyway, IIRC, I said something along the lines of:

Granted that the original 12 were far from perfect .. but at least one could argue that they were under duress when they fled Jesus .. i.e. in fear from their own lives. Our present day US Catholic Bishops have nothing to fear except possibly not getting asked to the right cocktail parties! How very little God asks of them, and they can't even get that right.

tibotmorfenoo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz said...

Perhaps the bishops are finally figuring out that as a body they don't really have the authority to dictate on matters like this. Each local bishop, as I understand, has the authority to make these decisions in his own diocese, and the Holy Father could make a worldwide decision, but that isn't really the role of the conference.

Certainly the USCCB could offer a teaching statement instructing Catholics about their responsibility to follow Catholic teaching about life and to refrain from communion if they don't. However, it seems as if that message has been sent repeatedly without much effect. We look at the politicians who receive, despite their support for abortion, but we don't necessarily notice the people in the pews who do the same thing.

It is in this arena that pastors have a vital role. They can, especially now that the election is over, be very bold in their preaching. They can hold the feet of their parishoners to the fire and explain what sacrilege means. They can engage in really good catechesis instead of repeated homilies on loving one another. Certainly homilies on love may be in order this weekend because of the high feelings the election has caused, but after this it's time for priests and bishops to make sure that there are no more comfortable pro-choice bottoms in the pews of their parishes.

We NEED our pastors and our bishops to be unabashedly clear about Church teachings about all sorts of issues, but we especially need to be clear about contraception, abortion, divorce, pre-marital sex, sterilization, materialism, and being conformed to the world around us. We need to be constantly reminded that we are to be marching to the beat of a different drummer than the culture. For far too long we've allowed ourselves to be aligned with one political party or the other and simply winked at those parts of party platforms that made us somewhat uncomfortable as Catholics. Some Catholics have gone so far as to not even be uncomfortable with the parts of either party's platform that clearly contradicted Church teaching. Hence we find ourselves where we are, not simply because some Catholics winked at the failures on the Democrats, but also because some Catholics winked at or aligned themselves with the bad practices of the Republicans.

We need strong teaching on things like Evangelium Vitae, Humanae Vitae, and Rerum Novarum. We need Catholics of every political stripe to find themselves in the confessional because they have been guilty of conforming themselves to one part of the world spirit or another. Hold those feet to the fire, Owl. Speak with the passion of a St. Paul. You and your brother priests don't need the bishops to do your job for you. The average Catholic rarely pays attention to what the USCCB says and the New York Times and Co. usually put such a slant on it that they don't understand what the bishops have said anyway.

Please, priests, feed us some strong meat for a change!

the owl of the remove said...

I knew my latest column would stir up some fury tibot - don't worry about me - worry about Catholics who think it's ok to vote for someone who will force Catholic Doctors to perform abortions (FOCA) and who doesn't know when human life begins because it's "above his pay grade." As for dissent - I didn't say it didn't happen - but there would be no "dialogue" with heretics - read your Church history - especially the Fathers - why were most of the orthodox ones exiled - many times -St. Athanasius, John Chrysostom etc, etc. If you are worried about me - you had better worry about plenty of other priests and, thankfully, a good number of bishops - I come from a country where this has happened before - all legally, voted for and "civilized" - being a Catholic priest was a felony punishable by death - and helping one!

the owl of the remove said...

p.s. - by the way - I'm not angry - I'm very clear and calm - I truly know what's coming!

gemoftheocean said...

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a taciturn New Englander. I suppose Jesus was being "unreasonable" when he was angry at the money changers in the temple. It will be a cold day in Hades when I'm not furious with Nobama for wanting to push FOCA. The only thing that will keep this from passing is a filibuster by the senate. And don't put it past the cadre of Nobamites now entrenched for the next two years at least into doing away with the filibuster, which is a senate rule -- which could be changed by a majority vote.

the owl of the remove said...

Interestingly enough, one man's meat is another man's poison: several comments after Mass today thanking me for my latest article in the Tribune - and an offer of writing for an international Catholic magazine - and they'll even pay me! Keep worrying!

the owl of the remove said...

Latest news: Felsenburgh's new Chief of Staff says they'll overturn the executive order on stem cell research.....

Liz said...

Went to Mass today after my earlier post and guess what! The priest put people's feet to the fire. He dealt with homosexuality, immodesty, the types of media we watch...Wow! That was fast! We've never heard those sorts of things at our parish before!

My advice to you, Owl, is read or re-read Plague Journal. The message of that O'Brien novel helps me keep indignation and charity in balance. We don't yet know how apocalyptic a moment this is, but we do know that we need you to keep speaking the truth. I'm sure there are houses with hidey holes if necessary later on. St. Margaret Clitheroe is the one I took as my patron at Confirmation and I think her example would be one to follow.

I'm sure there are loads of your readers (both of the blog and your Tribune column) that are really welcoming the things that you have to say. I'm actually considering subscribing to the Tribune now. I used to not want my Protestant husband exposed to some of the more liberal stuff (I'll avoid using a stronger term) in it, but now I might actually dare have it around.

gemoftheocean said...

That should make the people with "Bush Derangement Syndrome" thrilled beyond belief.